Park workshops

March at Twin Falls Resort State Park features special weekend workshops on scrapbooking and guitar playing. “Two very popular interests, scrapbooking and guitar playing, each have a full weekend of planned activities, instruction, accommodation, and some meals,” explained Ken Vance, event coordinator. The park features a 47-room lodge, restaurant, vacation cabins, campground, golf, and expansive hiking and mountain biking trails. “The park concentrates on development of top-notch special interest weekends in early spring,” according to Vance.

Robin Kessinger, Robert Shafer, and Jim Ritchey will lead a weekend tailored to guitarists interested in fine-tuning their finger-picking techniques, getting tips from a national flat-picking champion, hitting chords and licks, and learning the etiquette of jamming during Twin Falls Resort State Park’s annual Guitar Workshop Weekend March 25-27.

The workshop will begin with a Friday night instructors’ mini concert and jam session and conclude Sunday afternoon.

“Where else will you find three musicians with this level of skill and talent, and experience,” emphasized Scott Durham, park superintendent.

“The workshop concentration is on development of guitar playing at pretty much any level of interest.

“The mini-concert as the jam sessions are great.”

Durham also notes the individual attention each of the instructors gives attendees is exceptional.

“Each are true teachers of guitar playing; an incredible gathering of talent and devotion to music.”

Separate instructional time is devoted to guitar electronics and sound, chords, flat-picking, and licks.

Combined sessions with all attendees and instructors include jam etiquette, stories, questions and answers and discussion.

A jam session Saturday evening promises both freewheeling and structured elements, according to a spokesperson.

Kessinger, of St. Albans, is one of the country’s leading flatpick guitarists. He has won the National Flatpicking Championship, but few know of all the state flatpicking championships he’s walked away with; most of them multiple times. He holds titles in Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, West Virginia, Best of Tri State (Ohio, Kentucy, and West Virginia), and other contests too numerous to mention.

He has been featured on PBS and BBC television specials and NPR radio shows.

In addition to his performance schedule, Kessinger is on staff events that include Steve Kaufman’s Flatpicking Camp, Augusta Heritage Workshops, in Elkins, and at the Allegheny Echoes Workshop, near Marlinton.

Shafer, of Charleston, has played guitar professionally since graduating high school in 1981. He is a two-time winner of the National Flatpicking Championship, held annually at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. He has also held state guitar championships in Kentucky (three times), Tennessee (twice), Ohio (twice), and Alabama.

Shafer has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, Mountain Stage, and BBC, and has worked with Mark O’Connor, Mike Snide, Kenny Baker, Gosh Graves, along with numerous others.

He is also an electric guitarist and has received rave reviews for his guitar playing form Guitar Play Magazine, The Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other publications.

Ritchey, of Greensboro, N.C., is an experienced guitar teacher, a recording engineer, a published songwriter, and was a touring musician for 20 years. His songs have been recorded and performed by numerous artists, including Kenny Rogers, BeJae Fleming, Mickey Jones, Kelley Hunt, Jim Messina, and B.W. Stevenson.

He honed his writing and performing skills in the clubs of Austin and Dallas. A long time lover of the blues, Ritchey has worked with such legends as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, and Big Mama Thornton.

The Guitar Workshop Weekend package includes a variety of accommodation choices.

The package price of $156 for one person includes two nights lodging in the Monarch Wing, workshop fee, lunch on Saturday and Sunday, break refreshments, and door prizes.

For the workshop only, without overnight accommodations, the price is $76 per person.

Cabin rates and other package prices are available.

Workshop size will be limited and advance reservations are required.

For more information or reservations, phone 304-294-4000 or 1-800–CALL WVA and ask for Twin Falls.

Workshop agendas, and all special weekends at the park, are also posted on the website at www.twinfallsresort. com under “Event.”

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